Employment Planning Hub

Starting a New Job


Section 6: Starting a New Job

Tips to Help You Ace Your First Day

Whether you will be starting your very first job or are changing jobs, this is an exciting and stressful time. Stress is not always a bad thing – it is a completely normal feeling that can help motivate you to do well at your new job.


  • Everyone is nervous on their first day of work.
  • If you start to feel nervous, slow down and take a deep breath.
  • You were hired because your new employer has confidence in you.
  • It is okay to ask questions and ask for help – you are not expected to know everything right away.
  • Be willing to learn and try your best.

Two ways to show that you are willing to learn and try your best are by showing up and being present.

Showing up means:
  • Being prepared for your first day of work
  • Being well rested
  • Preparing your work clothes and everything you need for your workday
  • Planning your route to work and leaving early so you are not late
  • Arriving at work 15 minutes before your shift starts so that you can get ready to start
  • Greeting your new co-workers with a friendly smile and eye contact
Being present means
  • Giving your supervisor or coworkers your full attention while they explain how to do your job
  • Eye contact, positive body language and not interrupting are ways to show people that you are paying attention
  • Watching closely to see how things are done
  • Being open to trying new things and doing things differently. Each workplace/company will have their own specific way of doing things and rules that must be followed
  • Asking questions if you do not understand something
Some things that might help you learn and remember:
  • Take notes (or record instructions on your phone)
  • Make a list (or take pictures on your phone)
  • Ask a coworker to show you how to do something, instead of telling you
  • Practice the new skill
  • Tell your supervisor how you learn best
  • If they have an employee handbook, take it home and read it through
  • Make sure to stay until the end of your shift and say goodbye before you leave

People at work will help you learn your job by telling you what and how to do things and what not to do.

This is an important way for you to learn your job, so make sure to listen, try your best and ask for help if you don’t understand something

At the end of your first day of work, you will have done two important things:

Met your new coworkers AND learned something new.
Remember to be proud of yourself and enjoy your success – you earned it!


As you travel home after your first day of work, think of the people you met at your new job. Try to remember the names of two key people that are helping you learn your job.

  1. What is your supervisor’s name?
  2. What is the name of a friendly coworker who you can ask for help?

Your next day at work will be easier. You will be less nervous when you know what to expect and who to ask if you have questions.